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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.30 | 1703 ratings

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4 stars Dream Theater sort of got out of a hole with this album and stepped into another: firstly, unlike Octavarium, this album is far more progressive in spite the fact that it is not concept disc. The songs are far more expansive in terms of genre and interpretation, they seem to be more elaborated and are more expressive than the one's on Octavarium. However, the contemporaneity of the sound, riffs, keys, etc don't really impress me as the band doesn't return to the past enough; I wasn't expecting a copy of one their previous successes, but more influences from the past, let's say, trend of rock with a certain emphasis on them. it would be absurd to say that Systematic Chaos is a trendy disc: it has enough moments that can be classified as being classical, only that the level to which those parts are taken is rather "childish", just like in "The Ministry of Lost Souls", for instance. The first song is called "In the Presence of My Enemies - Part I", and it's a mixture of new and old, sophisticated and simple, stylish and typical: even from it's first guitar notes, the technique comes forth showing the world that Dream Theater have become once again masters of their instruments. The modern riffs continue only to be interrupted by a melancholic and long guitar riff. It consists of two parts, the one just presented being the first. The second one is a normal metal song that uses motives from the first part.[9/10] The next song is entitled "Forsaken" which is a typical track with a nice solo at the middle.[7/10] "Constant Motion" is under constant motion: it's a pure metal song marked by hard groove metal guitars and synthesized keys. It also features Mike Portnoy on backup vocals adding some hardcore growls to the sound. It's kind of a symbol of "Systematic Chaos" in the way that it manages de reflect the toxicity (from a bad point of view) of the tracks that hasn't been noticed on any other Dream Theater record. [8/10]. "The Dark Eternal Night" is another mixture of new and old in which this dichotomy is more obvious: generally featuring a nu-metal guitar and rhythm, it's climax is similar to the duet solos from "Scenes from a Memory":jazz, classical rock, heavy metal form a bombastic moment on the album. [8/10] The only true ballad of "Systematic Chaos" is "Repentance". Although it is generally known that soft rock and ballad have been, as well, some of Dream Theater's strong points, this one seems to have had it's feeling erased. I'm afraid that, besides some nice psychedelic moments, the only notable aspect is the remarkable list of invited artists from the progressive world and not only. Corey Taylor appears on this track as well, appearance that is, in my opinion, a commercial decision. (I like Slipknot, but still, this is a Dream Theater album). [5/10] The following track, "Prophets of War" doesn't innovate the record's sound in any way: jus the same synthetic keys and modern riffs. This track is a good evidence, however, of LaBrie's failing voice. [7/10] "The Ministry of Lost Souls" is a very long song but without a content worthy of it's length. It is generally a simple ballad with some rough parts at the end. I guess the vocals are the strong point here, but the problem is that the main singer is James LaBrie. [6/10] Finally we reach the end with "In the Presence of My Enemies, Part II". This one is complex, indeed, it features a susceptible atmosphere, a lot of technical parts and a recurrence of motives from all the other songs. [9/10] In conclusion, the album is a good piece of music and definitely worthy of the place next to masterpieces such as "Scenes from a Memory" and "Awake". The production is good, no doubt about it. The songs are somewhat divers and their sequence creates euphony. Final impression: 8/10 (9+7+8+8+5+7+6+9+8)/9=7.44
Zarec | 4/5 |


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